Looking across the drive… Happy Valley names Hill as new girls’ head coach

Published 2:22 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2020

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Sometimes it takes a while to fill a coaching vacancy and get the right person to take over the program’s reins to continuing guiding it back to prominence.
For Happy Valley, that wasn’t the case as on Monday inside Charlie Bayless Gymnasium, Warrior Athletic Director Matt Estep introduced Dana Hill as the replacement for Thomas Gouge who moved to take a job at David Crockett.
For Hill, it’s just a matter of packing up his coaching office at Happy Valley Middle School and toting it across the street to the high school as Hill has served as the head girls’ basketball coach at the middle school for 20 years.
Hill, who is a Happy Valley graduated and Warrior through and through, was on staff when the Lady Warriors were making runs at the state tournament in 1993 and 1994.
“Walking in is like a family reunion,” Hill said in his opening address. “I look out there and see you guys and most of you guys have played for me at the middle school and I have known you actually through your parents. You guys know what you are getting.”
Hill went on to thank the faculty and staff at the high school for reaching out and giving him the opportunity.
He went on to further say that he had almost reached the point where he thought that coaching at the high school level had passed.
“Honestly, I had told myself that the opportunity had closed that it was not going to happen,” said Hill. “But God has a way of working things out and I think He put us in the right position to be where we are today and I thank him for that.”
And while Hill remembers the glory years of Happy Valley girls basketball, he wanted to take time to inform the girls’ basketball team that had come to the announcement of a couple of things.
“Ladies, I tell you what, if you don’t know the history of this program, this program was one of the elite programs in the late 80s and early 90s and we are going to get it back there,” commented Hill.
“It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to take a lot of hard work and that comes from both of us. I make a commitment to you guys and I hope you will make that commitment to us.
“I am going to challenge you with two things – attitude and effort. You give me that attitude and effort and we are going to be successful.”
Hill was very pleased that he was able to bring a familiar face alongside to help him as an assistant in Rik Anderson. Anderson, a former head coach at Cloudland High School, had been assisting with the middle school team.
For Estep, it was a relief having someone with experience as Hill did to name as the head coach especially during the trying times that are being experienced.
“Like Coach Hill said he has been a part of the glory years when he was over here with Coach Rader,” Estep stated. “It’s tough under the circumstances right now to find anybody.
“We were lucky to have someone right across the parking lot with the experience and knowledge of the kids. He has already coached them and he knows them and that’s a huge benefit. We are excited to have him.
“He is a Warrior. We know he is going to do a great job for us.”

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